By-Elections: Voting Lowest In Punjab, Tripura Records 76.6% Polling

Polling was mostly peaceful in bypolls for 3 Lok Sabha and 7 assembly seats in 5 states (File)

New Delhi:

Polling was by and large peaceful in the bypolls for three Lok Sabha and seven assembly seats spread across five states and Delhi on Thursday barring an incident of stabbing of a policeman in Tripura, where polling was the highest at 76.62 per cent.

In Punjab, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh, the turnout was below 45 per cent while it was 56 per cent in Jharkhand and 67 per cent in Andhra Pradesh. The final figures are likely to change.

In Uttar Pradesh, where the turnout was 43 per cent in the bypolls to the Azamgarh and Rampur Lok Sabha seats, Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav accused the ruling BJP of misusing power to disrupt voting.

The turnout in Tripura for the by-elections to four assembly constituencies was an impressive 76.62 per cent. Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) Kiran Gitte said an off-duty police constable was stabbed in Agartala constituency, adding he is undergoing treatment at a hospital.

The ruling BJP said it is confident of winning all the four seats – Agartala, Jubarajnagar, Surma and Town Bardowali. Chief Minister Manik Saha is contesting from Town Bardowali. He needs to win this election to continue as the Chief Minister. He is a Rajya Sabha member who was sworn in last month after the then Chief Minister Biplab Deb’s sudden resignation.

Punjab saw a low turnout of just over 37 per cent in the bypoll to the Sangrur Lok Sabha constituency. In a tweet, Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann demanded from the Election Commission that the voting time be extended till 7 pm, citing that many people were still working in fields due to the paddy-sowing season. The Sangrur deputy commissioner-cum-returning officer and the state chief secretary also sought extension of polling time from the election panel.

The poll panel pulled up the officials over the request, asking them to explain why they sought extension of polling time towards closing hours, saying it amounted to “attempt of unduly interfering in the election process and influence certain class of voters”.

Over 43 per cent voters in the Rajinder Nagar assembly constituency in Delhi came to vote. The bypoll is largely being seen as a battle between a confident Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and a spirited BJP.

Nearly 67 per cent voters turned up in the by-election to Atmakuru assembly constituency in Andhra Pradesh.

Except some minor incidents, the polling went on without any incident of violence, serious complaint and interruption, State Chief Electoral Officer Mukesh Kumar Meena said.

In Jharkhand, 56.03 per cent polling was reported in Mandar assembly bypoll in Ranchi district. The by-election was necessitated after the disqualification of Bandhu Tirkey as an MLA in the wake of his conviction in a corruption case. The Congress fielded Bandhu’s daughter, Shilpa Neha Tirkey, as the common candidate of the JMM-led alliance, while BJP has nominated former legislator Gangotri Kujur.

The bypoll to the Azamgarh seat in Uttar Pradesh was necessitated by the resignation of Samajwadi Party chief Akhilesh Yadav, who was elected to the Uttar Pradesh assembly as an MLA in the elections earlier this year.

The Rampur seat was vacated by senior Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan, who too was elected to the state assembly.

In Punjab, the bypoll was necessitated by the resignation of Mr Mann from the Lok Sabha after he was elected MLA in the state assembly elections earlier this year. He had won the Sangrur seat in the 2014 and 2019 parliamentary elections.